Library Child: Chapter One-Elissa
"O Romeo, Romeo! Where fore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name; Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love, And I'll no longer be a Capulet. 'Tis but thy name that is my enemy; Thou art thyself, though not a Montague. What's Montague? It is nor hand, nor foot, Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part Belonging to a man. O, be some other name! What's in a name? That which we call a rose-"
"Enjoying that book?" A kindly old woman leaned over a reading 16-year old girl. "Shakespeare was a great writer. You enjoyed "the Tempest", didn't you Elissa?"
"Oh yes, it was so romantic! Shakespeare was so dramatic." Elissa whispered "'Deny thy father and refuse thy name; or if thou wilt not be sworn my love.' I wish I lived in one of his plays." She ended with a dramatic sigh. "I am but a young girl, with only wishful dreams. Mrs. Desleri, have you ever read Shakespeare?"
"Of course! I am a librarian, honey." Mrs. Desleri chuckled. Elissa laughed too and then returned hungrily to her book, Romeo and Juliet. Mrs. Desleri sighed and returned to sorting through the books. Elissa was a strange child, that's for sure. Her parents had died when she was 7 and 8, old enough for their memories to hurt her. The orphanage she lived in now was a gray, grimy place, dispelling her dreams and hopes, but she managed to escape to the library where she read, and dreamed herself far, far away from here. Her green eyes sparkled with excitement whenever she thought of her "castle in Spain" and even though her long waist length black hair hid her face when she read, you could just tell that she enjoyed everything she read.
Mrs. Desleri then caught sight of the clock, 5:00; Elissa should have been back to the orphanage half an hour ago. Hurriedly, she shook the girls shoulder, "Elissa grab a science book, NOW!" She said urgently and pointed at the clock. . Elissa eyes widen and grabbed a heavy, random book off the science shelf, ran to the check out desk where she hurriedly ran it pass the scanners, and ran out the library doors.
"She runs as if the devil were behind her," the clerk at the check out desk shook her head despairingly.
"You'd be surprised," Mrs. Desleri shook her head sadly, heart wretched for the poor teen.
Elissa ran past the houses blindly, scared of the consequences. The orphanage was one of the few left with the ability to forcefully punish a child, that or the city was too scared of the matron. Elissa mentally snorted, I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case. Silently, she scrambled up the stairs to the looming gray building. She had to stop at the sight of that prison that she had lived in, and still did, as lonely orphan. The place was a real prison before it became the orphanage. The rusted bars on the window remained and the white washed walls were oppressive, making any orphan feel desolate and so alone. She opened the creaky door hesitantly. Hopefully I won't get caught. Now all I have to do is keep quiet- "ACHOO!" She sneezed loudly and froze, "uh oh."
"ELLISA MORRISSA!!!" The loud pie0rcing voice of the matron rang through the halls. She swooped in, looking just like a skinny vulture descending on her prey. "Where have you been, young lady?! You were supposed to be back 45 minutes ago!"
"I was at the library for a library project," Elissa wavered.
"Let me see," Matron demanded. Elissa fished the book out of her bag and handed it carefully to Matron, "Physics, eh? Interesting," She flipped a few pages of the book while Elissa's heart beat so loudly that it threaten to jump out of her chest.
"Y-yes, isn't it?" Elissa stuttered
"Yes, yes…" Matron kept flipping through pages, "Well, I suppose so…"
"Elissa, Elissa! You're home!" Ali, another orphan, ran towards her, "The library called about your ordered book, the lurid mystery…"Ali stopped at the sight of the suspicious-looking Matron. "Uh oh…"
"What book, Elissa?" Matron asked in a voice dripping with a threat.
"Um… one of the Language Arts books?" Elissa smiled weakly, looking meek.
"Uh huh…"Matron advanced slowly, looking scarier and scarier with each step. "And that doesn't happen to be on the reading list for this year?"
"Uh… substitute teacher said so?" Elissa quavered, the fake smile faltering the closer Matron got.
"Elissa Morrisa, you know full well you're lying to me!" Matron shrieked voice shrill as a piercing whistle that called for Elissa's doom. Ali scampered away, leaving Elissa cornered and afraid. "You filthy ungrateful BRAT!" SLAP. The sickening sound resounded through the hallways, making the younger children whimper. No matter how many times the sound was heard, not all were resistant against it. Matron's slaps had their own special sound, one that seemed to echo ominously as a warning for each and every orphan there.
Elissa choked back a sob that would just encourage Matron to increase the intensity of the punishment. The red mark on her arms stung like some one had burned her. This was to be a long night.
Feebly, Elissa raised her arms to protect herself but Matron was relentless. she kept slapping Elissa's arms until finally, Elissa passed out.